The Compromise

...more reaction to the Prop 8 ruling in California. This time, from Kathleen McKinley at the Houston Chronicle:
So what's the problem? The problem is one word....marriage.

I can promise you that if Prop 8 were voted on tomorrow, and the exact same language was used, but instead the word "marriage" was replaced with the words "civil unions," it would pass. And most everyone would be fine it. As some other guy, not as well known as [Kinky Friedman] once said, "What's in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet."

As long as Churches are not forced to perform marriages or unions they believe are invalid or wrong (be they gay, divorced, or otherwise) , I don't think you would have much dispute. And since there are plenty of Churches that would gladly "marry" gays, there really is no problem at all. It's all in the name. Simply call gay marriage a civil union. Those that see marriage as sacred would feel better, and gays who simply want the same rights as married heterosexuals, would have them.

Every person I talk to, liberal or conservative, seem to have no problem with this compromise. Call gay marriage a civil union. Yet there is no move toward this compromise. Why? Because leaders and activists on both sides simply want what they want, and will not budge. While most of us out here in the real world, both gay and straight, are just fine with the compromise.

First of all, her true colors are showing when she puts quotation marks around the word 'marry' in the third paragraph. Why use the quotes? Because she clearly does not believe that gays can get married.

Moreover, McKinley is missing the subtext here: sure, people who are gay can be united in a civil ceremony (a "civil union"), but in many most states they cannot get married. So, why is it that straight folks can get married and gay folks cannot?

If a straight couple who are atheists (or do not want to participate in a religious ceremony) go to their local Justice of the Peace, they go to get "married". Nobody says, "hey, let's go to the Court House and be united in a civil ceremony". It's all semantics.

Calling gay marriage a "civil union" is fine, but it's still placing the gay couple in a position that is less than that of a straight couple; i.e. straights get 'married' while gays get 'civilly united'.

However, I will agree with McKinley regarding the "forcing" of churches to marry those with which they disagree. As an institution with rights under the First Amendment to the Constitution, churches should not be forced to do anything that infringes upon their religious beliefs.

The bottom-line is that marriage in inherently a religious institution. Government should not even be getting involved. But, since the word "marriage" has been co-opted by the mainstream, it no longer carries a religious connotation. Getting married is now something that both religious people and non-believers alike participate.

Yet, McKinley seems to have missed that point altogether.